About Canada

Canada is a diverse and fascinating country. There’s so much to learn and love about Canada. This information will give you an overview of Canadian geography, population, language and politics.

Canadian geography

With a landmass of 9.1 million square kilometres, Canada is the second-largest country in the world. Canada is located in the top half of North America, and the country is bordered by three oceans: Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic. In fact, we have the longest coastline of any country. To our south, we share nearly 9,000 kilometres of land border with the United States. That’s the longest border in the world! Most Canadians live within a few hundred kilometres of the U.S. border.

Our country has some impressive geographic features, including vast mountain ranges and more than 2 million lakes. Would you believe we have just under 1 million square kilometers of fresh water? Pack your bathing suit and prepare to explore our beautiful rivers, lakes, streams and oceans.

Population of Canada

Canada’s population is around 38 million[1]. Approximately 80% of people live in cities and towns. We have so much space in Canada that our population density ratio is one of the lowest in the world. That translates to less than 4 persons per square kilometre!

Canada's largest cities include[2]:

  • Toronto: 6.5 million
  • Montreal: 4.3 million
  • Vancouver: 2.7 million
  • Calgary: 1.5 million
  • Edmonton: 1.4 million
  • Ottawa-Gatineau: 1.4 million

Canada is a multicultural and diverse country. Canadians represent 250 ethnic origins or ancestries. There are 20 million Canadians of European ancestry, 2 million with Indigenous ancestry and large numbers of Canadians who report being of Chinese, East Indian, Southeast Asian and other ancestries. Canada’s Indigenous population consists of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples[3].

Canadians practice many different religions, while some claim no religious affiliation. Our population includes people who adhere to Catholic, Protestant, Christian Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh and other faiths.

Learn more about Canadian culture.

Languages of Canada

Canada has 2 official languages: English and French. All federal government institutions and many businesses offer bilingual services.

Chinese dialects are the 3rd most common native language in Canada, followed by Panjabi (Punjabi), Spanish, Arabic and Tagalog. The most common Indigenous languages are Cree, Inuktitut and Innu.

Canadian political system

Canada has a democratic system of government. We are a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as our Head of State. In Canada, the Governor General carries out Her Majesty’s duties and is our de facto Head of State.

Canada’s capital city is Ottawa, Ontario. Our Parliament consists of the House of Commons with 338 elected members and the Senate, where 105 members are appointed. On average, Members of Parliament (MPs) are elected every 4 years. The Prime Minister, who is usually the leader of the party with the largest number of seats in the House of Commons, is Canada’s Head of Government. The Prime Minister appoints 20 to 30 ministers who make up the Cabinet. The Cabinet develops government policy and is responsible to the House of Commons.

Each of Canada’s 10 provinces and 3 territories has a legislature under the leadership of a premier. Provincial and territorial governments are responsible for education, health care, drivers’ licences, labour standards, social services and more.

Municipal and local governments also play an important role and are normally responsible for urban or regional planning, streets and roads, sanitation (such as garbage collection), snow removal, firefighting services, ambulance, emergency services, recreational facilities, public transportation as well as some local health and social services.

[1] Canada at a glance population, Statistics Canada, 2020.

[2] Population of census metropolitan areas, Statistics Canada, 2019.

[3] Ethnic and cultural origins of Canadians, Statistics Canada, 2017.